Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Welcomes Home Continue

In my first walk through the local nature Preserve (Tekakwitha Forest Preserve) of our return, I was amazed by the spurt of growth that has occurred since our visit here 7 weeks ago. In May the buds were just peeking above the carpet of leaves and now the forest is at it's peak of green growth. Instead of going down the bike path like I usually do, I hiked down one of the trails that meander through the oak/hickory forest. Pictured is a ranger-built bridge crossing a ravine that leads to the Preserve's nature center - full of displays about both human, animal and plant life in the area. I was there after their closing time (4pm), so continued down one of the trails towards the river.

Evidently the Fox had been high enough lately that the trail paralleling the river was quite muddy and barely passable, so I cut over to the bike path for some asphalt walking. It was a popular place, busy with walkers, bikers, and a few fishermen dangerously close to breaking the "No Fishing Off The Bridge" rule. The short stretch of the pedestrian bridge over the Fox is where many of my Illinois bird pictures are taken. As if to welcome me back, over the course of 3 minutes, a dead tree along the bridge was populated first with a Baltimore Oriole pair, then a Cedar Waxwing, then a Kingbird. I didn't really have the right lens for birding, but took a shot of the Orioles that are shown here.

On the walk back up The Hill towards the parking lot, I could see where a couple had stopped walking and were staring into someone's yard. As I caught up to them, there was a good sized doe standing just off the path, seemingly content to be watched and photographed. With eyelashes to die for, she seemed comfortable with people nearby, but if you click on the image, you can see the skeeters are bugging her - one on the right cheek, and another going for the right ear (her left). And as the parking lot approached, I even saw the black squirrel (pic from last Sept), whose territory must include the very SE of the Preserve, which includes the parking lot. It is the only place I've seen him...

A nice selection of photographic targets for such a short pre-sunset walk. You can bet there will be a few more visits during our all-too-brief stay!

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